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Rupert Murdoch takes charge of Fox News as Roger Ailes steps down
MUMBAI: An era has ended in Fox News Channel. Roger Ailes, the main architect of the network, has stepped down and 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch has assumed the role of chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.
Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations, has resigned from his role with immediate effect, according to a statement from 21st Century Fox, the parent of the news network.
Ailes exits rather unceremoniously, after a series of sexual-harassment allegations were leveled against him. Anchor Gretchen Carlson, whose contract was not renewed, has filed a case against Ailes. The prime man in Fox News Channel has denied the sexual-harassment charges made by Carlson and others.
Fox News is one of the jewels of 21st Century Fox and contributes almost 20% of the parent’s EBITDA. Scoring over CNN for the last 14 years, the network is highly valued by Murdoch. This explains why he has decided to directly supervise Fox News.
“I am personally committed to ensuring that Fox News remains a distinctive, powerful voice. Our nation needs a robust Fox News to resonate from every corner of the country,” Murdoch said in a statement.
Fox News, which has given voice to those who were ignored by the traditional networks, has been one of the great commercial success stories of modern media.
“To ensure continuity of all that is best about Fox News and what it stands for, I will take over as chairman and acting CEO, with the support of our existing management team under Bill Shine, Jay Wallace and Mark Kranz,” Murdoch said.
In the official release, 21st Century Fox did not inform about the status of the company’s internal review against the charges made against Ailes.
Murdoch was full of praise of Ailes. “It is always difficult to create a channel or a publication from the ground up and against seemingly entrenched monopolies. To lead a flourishing news channel, and to build Fox Business, Roger has defied the odds. His grasp of policy and his ability to make profoundly important issues accessible to a broader audience stand in stark contrast to the self-serving elitism that characterizes far too much of the media,” he said.